This is another very good story collection that came out last year, by the writer Lesley Nneka Arimah who grew up in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria. It’s going to be very hard to not compare her to Chimamanda Adichie, but why they have some similarities in background and biography, I think the comparison is at best problematic.
Instead what we have here is a handful of really interesting stories that sometimes are short and impactful and other times are longer and feel like mini-novels that I don’t want to lose when they are done. So for example, in the short story “War Stories” we are introduced to a really captivating family where the young teenage daughter sees the interactions among her and her friends as the second generation immigrant’s parallel to her father’s horrifying war stories, and comes to realize that maybe, as low key as he seems, he might have some dark inner depths she can’t reckon with. And then in the other stories we meet the children of immigrants who come to realize that their experiences in the West come at the cost of a rich homelife among their family and family friends in Nigeria.
Although I was more or less ready for the collection to be over when I was done — one of the middle stories dragged, and the second to last story was not that strong — I felt very immersed in the book throughout. And the only real criticism I have is not for the book itself but for the audiobook reader who had by far the worst American accent I have ever heard, which was both frustrating and funny.